REVIEW gig Ezra Furman The Foundry, Sheffield 17/02/16

You Need Ezra Furman In Your Life

Ezra Furman and his band the Boy-Friends displayed tonight just why they are getting so much attention, and it is all fully deserved.

Dancing on to the stage, the charismatic Ezra immediately captivated the crowd and held their attention to the very last moment, peeping his head around the curtain for one last goodbye wave to his adoring audience.

The set list was largely comprised from his last, and most successful, 2 albums – 2013’s 'Day of the Dog' and last year’s 'Perpetual Motion People'. They opened the set with "Restless Year", an attention grabbing hit which is performed with lots of energy, quickly followed by the uptempo “Anything Can Happen.” However, before you could really get dancing, they slowed things down a little, playing a beautiful jazz infused version of “And Maybe God is a Train” featuring some sublime saxophone from Tim Sandusky, and followed by the lyrically unsettling B-side “The Prisoner.”

Ezra comes across a little coy in his opening remarks to the crowd but it’s clear to see that he is enjoying himself and he grows throughout the set. Those wanting to dance didn’t have long to wait, during “Hark! To the Music” Ezra abandons his guitars, opting to cavort around the stage and getting up close and personal with the crowd as a number of them surge towards the front, it’s almost impossible to take your eyes off him as he twists and turns around the stage, ending in a heap in front of the drum kit. At times throughout the set he appears dainty and delicate, and at others completely ravenous.

His band, The Boy-Friends, are flawless throughout, all of whom seem to be thoroughly enjoying the evening. They provide the perfect platform for Ezra to express himself and his ideas and together they create a wonderful spectacle. They’re a talented bunch, switching from Jazz, to indie to doo-wop with consummate ease. Despite his wonderful and vast back catalogue, one can understand why Ezra may want to stick with his newer material - whichever direction he wants to go, his band seems more than capable of providing the perfect sound.

“Ordinary Life” my personal favourite from the latest album, is greeted with the biggest sing along of the evening. It’s a heartfelt piece about doing anything and everything you must to make life worth living, and it certainly seems to strike a chord with his fans.

It’s difficult to pick out highlights in a set so well performed and so well received. “My Zero” is possibly the most popular track on ‘Day of the Dog’ and also goes down well, but then so does everything else. The set is littered with delicate, intense and enthralling moments and performances. Ezra Furman has the crowd lapping up his every movement and they hang on his every word, he also has them laughing between most songs.

A three song encore included a wonderful and unique cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom” – it’s not often you hear Nirvana covers with a saxophonist playing an integral role. They bring the night to a close with “Tell em All to go to Hell” and Ezra is at his irrepressible best. He performs it with such raw emotion, it is easy to imagine the sentiment is just as significant now as it was the day he wrote it. Despite an utterly compelling 90-minute performance, the crowd still want more and it’s good few minutes after the lights come up before people start to disperse.

If you haven’t seen Ezra Furman and The Boy-Friends yet, then do not waste another second. They have confirmed they’ll be returning to the UK to play Green Man Festival in August and will then return again for their own headline tour in October where they will play their biggest headline show to date at London’s Roundhouse.

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  • There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance but it is good to know some genuine acts can still retain their humility.